I spoke via telephone today with Tom Cruise about Valkyrie, which opens Christmas Day. It was my first time interviewing him one-on-one and he was in such good spirits that we ended up yakking way past my allotted 15 minutes.
Because I am such a Kubrick nut, I couldn't resist asking Cruise to look back on Eyes Wide Shut and tell me what he remembered nearly a decade later about the making of the film and its legendary two-year shooting schedule. Here is some of what he said:
"Stanley was very generous with me. He spent a lot of time going back over all the films he made - even as far back as his photography - and why he used the lenses that he used. People talk a lot about the huge number of takes he would do, but he just had his own rhythm of working. He'd say "In the theater, they do hundreds of performances and you see how the character deepens over time." He was brilliant, but he was just like all of us, constantly searching for the moment and the magic in every scene.
I've never been the guy who hangs out in his trailer between scenes. Even on Taps, I would hang out with Sean [Penn] or Tim [Hutton] or Harold Becker or the wardrobe guys. I love the whole experience of making a film. So to then be able to sit down with Kubrick was like taking a master class. When you first start making movies, you realize very early on you don't know what you're doing and you're going on raw instinct. But working with Stanley gave me confidence and knowledge as a filmmaker.
Stanley was actually going to do interviews for Eyes Wide Shut. He was going to get on a boat and we were going to go to Cannes. It would have been great to hear him talk about that movie. I do the best I can to put a film into context, but it's hard, because sometimes I could tell people weren't all that interested in what we were trying to do. They were just waiting for me to shut up so they could ask me how [his children] Conor and Bella liked spending so much time in England. Or they just wanted to know what shoes I was wearing."
Monday Dec. 16
Tuesday Dec. 17
Yes Man (2008)